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George Victor Grinnell (1878-1946)
Peter Marcus (1889-1934)
George Bertrand Mitchell (1874-1966)
Peter Marcus (1889-1934)






(Photo from The International Studio magazine, 19251)





Peter Marcus was born Herman Marcus in New York City as the only child of Anna R. (Hand) and jeweler George Elder Marcus. The son and grandson of draftsmen, he studied at the Art Students League of New York, École des Beaux Arts and École des Arts Décoratifs in Paris at age 19. Upon his return to New York City, he briefly worked as a jewelry designer for the family business before being introduced to his father's friend, Henry Ward Ranger. Though he never was a pupil of Ranger's, he received critical feedback about his paintings from the internationally acclaimed National Academician while Ranger lived in Noank, CT. After Ranger's death, Marcus studied with Charles Harold Davis who introduced him to the Mystic Art Association. He exhibited sketches for the first time at the Mystic Art Association in 1915 under the name Herman Marcus2. In February of 1916, the New London (CT) County newspaper, The Day, published3
 
"Herman Marcus, the artist, who spent the summer in Mystic, is here again for the winter, painting snow scenes, etc."

Sometime around 1916, he changed his first name and appeared as Peter Marcus in the MAA Annual Exhibition listing and in several
published newspaper4 articles later that year. Marcus was an internationally recognized artist who exhibited both oil paintings and etchings. His family had the financial means to support his interest in art, having established the Marcus & Co. jewelers of New York City. 
 

Marcus & Co. Jewelers of New York5

Herman Marcus (1828-1899) was a jewelry merchant in Germany before immigrating to New York City in 1850. He married Margaret Elder (d.1894) in 1856 while working at Tiffany & Co. In 1864, he partnered with Theodore B. Starr to form Starr and Marcus jewelers. The firm of Starr and Marcus dissolved in 1877 and Herman Marcus returned to Tiffany & Co. In 1884, he joined the firm of Jaques and Marcus, of which his son William Elder Marcus (1857-1925) was partner. Jaques and Marcus operated at 857 Broadway and 17th Street. George B. Jaques retired from the firm in 1892 and Herman Marcus established Marcus & Co. jewelers with his sons William E. Marcus, president, and George Elder Marcus, secretary and treasurer. After the death of Herman Marcus in 1899, William and George moved Marcus & Co. to 544 Fifth Avenue and opened a department for silversmithing along with the established jewelry business.  (Photo from The Jewelers' Circular and Horological Review, 1899)

George Elder Marcus (1859-1917), father of Peter Marcus, was born in New York City in 1859. He was educated at the Polytechnique Institute of Brooklyn, NY; Lausanne, Switzerland; and Heidelberg, Germany. He married in 1886, Anna R. Hand (1860-1937) of Brooklyn, NY. The family spent many summers on Moosehead Lake, Kineo, ME. Tragically, George died on the lake in a drowning accident while canoeing during the summer of 1917. At the time of his death, he was vice-president of Marcus & Co. and his estate was valued at $716,675, split equally between his wife and Peter.  (George E. Marcus, U.S. Passport Photo, 1915. Courtesy Ancestry.com)


Peter Marcus is best known for his drawings of New York City that appeared in his book New York: The Nation's Metropolis6 (1921). He married in 1923 in New York City, Joan Gordon Kittredge (ca.1894-1936) of Alabama. Marcus spent summers in Mystic in the 1910s-1920s and, by 1924, had moved from his apartment at 30 East 74th Street to a leased stone mansion in Old Mystic, CT. The mansion was destroyed by fire in the fall of 1924, taking with it many of his possessions and artwork. He moved permanently to Main St., Stonington, CT in 1929.

He was a member of the Mystic Art Association, Mystic Masonic Lodge, Architectural League
of New York, Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, Lotus Club, Salmagundi Club, New Haven Paint and Clay Club, Society of American Etchers, and American Artists Professional League. 

He exhibited at the National Academy of Design, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Art Institute of Chicago, Salmagundi Club, Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, Macbeth and Milch Galleries, Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, and almost every year from 1915 to 1931 at the Mystic Art Association.

Peter Marcus died at age 44 from a heart attack in Stonington, CT on June 7, 1934. He was buried in Section 22, Lot 5088, Grave 3, in Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla,  NY. A memorial group of etchings by Peter Marcus was shown during the Mystic Art Association Annual Exhibition in the summer of 1934.

1 "Etchings by Peter Marcus," The International Studio, January 1925, Vol. 80, No. 332, p.324-330
"Mystic Exhibit of Pictures Fine," The Day, August 19, 1915, p.5 
3 "Mystic: Brief Local Mention," The Day, February 5, 1916, p.9 
4 "Mystic: Along the Street," The Day, November 27, 1916, p.8

The Jewelers' Circular and Horological Review, October 25, 1899: Vol. 39, No. 13
Marcus, P., New York: The Nation's Metropolis, New York: Bretano's, 1921




Peter Marcus (1889-1934)
The Oak, ca.1920
Oil on Canvas
25 x 30 in.
Private collection





Peter Marcus (1889-1934)
The Missing Schooner, ca.1925
Oil on Canvas
30 x 26 in.
Private collection

Exhibited Macbeth Gallery, New York, NY, 1927





Peter Marcus (1889-1934)
Silver Lining, ca.1925
Aquatint on Paper
8-3/8 x 10-3/8 in.
Private collection





Peter Marcus (1889-1934)
Connecticut Farm
Etching on Paper
7-7/8 x 11-7/8 in.
Private collection





Peter Marcus (1889-1934)
A Ca
ñon in Gotham (Exchange Place), ca. 1922
Etching on Paper
8-7/8 x 5-7/8 in.
Private collection